By: Lucas Kochevar
The end of March Madness is near as the Final Four is set. The four teams that punched their tickets are the Gonzaga Bulldogs, Oregon Ducks, South Carolina Gamecocks, and North Carolina Tar Heels. The games in the Elite 8 did not disappoint. Gonzaga did defeat the Xavier Musketeers in a blowout. The Ducks beat one of the tournament favorites in the Kansas Jayhawks. The Gamecocks managed to beat the Florida Gators in a narrow victory. The best game of the Elite 8 was the game between the Tar Heels and the Kentucky Wildcats as Malik Monk hit an absurd shot and then UNC answered as one of their bench players hit the game-winning jumper with 0.3 seconds left. The stage is set as we have some very exciting teams and story lines for the Final Four.
The Oregon Ducks play the North Carolina Tar Heels as this match-up should be an exciting one and the game should be close. I like both teams as they both have very interesting teams and players that should make an impact. The players people will be looking at is the Dillion Brooks-Justin Jackson match-up but I like the big man battle between Kennedy Meeks and Jordan Bell. This should be a fun battle inside as both players will play big roles. This game should be close as UNC has pure talent but Oregon is one of the best teams from the three-point line this year. I think Oregon will stay in the game but they will never lead as UNC will play very good defense and they will win the game as Joel Berry II will have a very solid, smart game. The only way UNC will lose this game is if they don't lead as UNC will most likely get out of their comfort zone and stop running their offense. They will also lose if they don't defend the three-point line. Like I said earlier, I like UNC winning with a final score of 76-69.
The next game is between the 1-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs against, the Cinderella, South Carolina Gamecocks. This game should be interesting as South Carolina has been playing very good lately thanks to the help of Sindarius Thornwell and the great coaching of Frank Martin. The Zags have been playing spectacular also as they have won with relative ease. They have been on fire and I honestly have not believed in them until now. Their true test come in this Final Four as South Carolina has actually made themselves a threat. I feel like everyone has been waiting for Gonzaga to lose but they have just been proving people wrong. As much as I would love to see South Carolina win and advance to the championship, I do not think that is going to happen as Gonzaga has just been playing lights throughout the tournament. I think the key of the game for Gonzaga to win is to make South Carolina adjust and not let them play with comfort inside their own scheme and game plan. South Carolina is going to have to stop Gonzaga on the glass and make sure that every three-pointer they take is contested. I still like Gonzaga in a win 84-72.